With walls of CDs and a plethora of posters, the WGMU studio is a visual extension of the hard work and dedication that goes into ensuring George Mason University’s student-run radio station is always delivering the best content possible to the Mason community.

“Currently we have 80 hours of programming every single week,” said Alex Romano, a senior and general manager of WGMU. “[We have] live and original programming created by students, hosted by students, and there’s everything from sports shows and talk shows to music shows and variety shows. There’s a little bit of everything.”

Some of the shows that students can listen to include “Party Like It’s 9 Teen 90 Nine” with Alex Howard, “Girlfriends” with Le’andra Jones and Kala West, and “The Fearless Hour” with WGMU Program Director Monet Sutton.

“Last year, taking the radio workshop class, we were supposed to come up with our own original show, and I did purely ‘90s,” Sutton said, “and doing that show was fun. But I also realized that there are a lot of bands that I listen to that I think are great that a lot of people don’t know exist.  So I decided to do a feature show about bands that don’t get a lot of play — you know, like things that would never be on MTV.”

WGMU is unique because it is available solely online with no FM broadcast. Because of that, however, it’s capable of reaching an even broader audience.

“A lot of people ask me why we’re online only,” Romano said. “The reason is because we used to have an FM signal, but now if we had a signal, it would be extremely expensive to maintain and to keep buying the license. There also wouldn’t be enough power to reach far enough to be worth it.  A lot of our programming is one-to-three hours long, so unless you’re stuck on Patriot Circle, which actually happened to a lot of people last year, it really wouldn’t be worth it.”

Knowing that their core demographic is of the tech-savvy variety, WGMU’s greatest strengths come from its accessibility.

“We’re on a site called RadioFlag, which is basically a site that has hundreds of college radio stations from all around the country signed up on it,” Romano said.  “You can listen on TuneIn, and both of these different services have mobile applications that allow you to listen on your smartphone or Apple TV.  We’re on the iTunes radio directory.  You can even go to the site on your smartphone and just listen to the stream straight from the site, so even if you have a Blackberry you can still listen on your phone.”

It wasn’t always so easy to listen to WGMU though.

“When I came in as a WGMU manager we only had a [Microsoft] Windows stream and not a lot of people,” Romano said. “Not a lot of people, if any at all, have that.”

In addition to the ways WGMU can be listened to, they also live stream via a webcam from the studio whenever a DJ is on air.  But even with all of the live programming that happens weekly it’s still difficult to have someone in the studio at all times.

“If there’s not an active DJ in the studio, we have this system that’s called OTS Audio Video,” said Storm Paglia, a freshman and operations manager for the station, “which is an automated DJ system.  We’re always consistently streaming — 24/7, 365.  If it’s not live, it’s automated.”

A misconception that students have about WGMU is that you have to take a workshop course if you want to work for the radio station.  That’s not the case.

“If you want to come in here, anybody can be a DJ, but if you want to volunteer, you have to put time in the practice studio,” Romano said.  “Basically you get an introduction to radio with Professor Roger Smith and every week you come into the practice studio and do what we call a rotation shift.  You do a one-hour radio show and then Monet and I break them up and listen to all of them and decide who gets to go on air.  The Communication 148 class is a good prerequisite for getting yourself acquainted with radio, and it teaches you how to go on air.  But you don’t have to take the class to go on air.  That was a misconception that was around for a long time.  All of the Mason ambassadors were telling everyone on tours you had to take a course before you can go on air and that’s not true.”

Like many organizations on campus, WGMU knows that working with other groups is paramount to bringing in new listeners.  One such collaboration is the Intimate Concert Series, which is hosted by WGMU and Mason Cable Network.

“The Intimate Concert Series is basically a series of concerts that we’ve done a convergence project with MCN on. They come in and record the whole concert and we do the audio,” Romano said. “Then the video streams on MCN and the audio will be on WGMU.  The whole idea behind it is to have an intimate setting where people can ask the performers questions and make it really personal.”

WGMU can be seen at many different events on campus, from the Career Fair to Mason Day.

“We always have something planned for Mason Day,” Romano said.  “We’re going to have a table set up, and we’re actually working on having one of our DJs spinning music while there are breaks on the local stage.”

Whether you hope to pursue a career in radio, or it’s just something you’re interested in, WGMU welcomes anyone who comes to them.

“If anybody wants to get involved, we’re always looking for on-air DJs,” Romano said.  “We’re always looking for new staff.  If you’re interested in the business aspect, we have that. If you just want to be on air, we have that. WGMU has it all.”